This vegetarian spinach lasagna was a surprising hit with my husband and later a surprising hit with the offensive line. This was on the menu for one of our o-line dinners and bless them, each took a smaller than normal serving, to be polite; i’m sure. They looked apprehensive and gave me a doubtful nod when I assured them they would like it!
I’m proud to say it was one of the first things to disappear! They came back for more and were shocked it was a meatless entree.
Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
The key to this dish is a flavorful sauce. Don’t skimp on the seasonings, fresh herbs, or long simmer time. It’s still layered with mozzarella cheese and herbaceous ricotta cheese but the layer are stuffed with a mix of fresh greens― spinach and kale. You don’t have to use both, just spinach would be delicious as well. If you are using kale, remember to remove the thick stalks.
Since you’re already going through the effort of making the sauce, cooking the noodles, and washing the greens, why don’t you make one for the freezer? Your future, tired, hungry self will thank you later! I made three LOAF pans worth of vegetarian spinach lasagna. 2 for the freezer and one for dinner that night.
Loaf pans are a great option if you are feeding a smaller family and want to avoid waste. There is still enough for leftovers but you should be able to avoid throwing away half a pan of lasagna at the end of the week.
In the vegetarian spinach lasagna recipe, I list a few ingredients you can add to your sauce to boost the flavor. They are purely optional! I also strongly suggest you taste as you go and don’t be afraid of salting your dish. It can bring out the rich flavors of the tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Add a little salt and taste. Repeat as necessary!
Little tip: The ingredients are listed in the order they get added.
Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna (with Kale)
Yield 2 half pans
A lighter take on the traditional meat filled lasagna; these layers are stuffed with spinach and kale, a savory ricotta, and layered with mozzarella cheese.
- 1 1/2 C yellow onion, diced (~ 1 1/2 medium onions)
- 7 cloves of garlic, chopped (not diced too small; wouldn’t want to scorch it)
- 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 10 C Jarred Marinara sauce (~ 80 oz)
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
- 1/4 C fresh herbs like basil and parsley (optional)
- salt + pepper
- 30 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp dried parsley OR oregano
- 10 C greens, washed (I used spinach and kale)
- 1 package of UNCOOKED lasagna noodles*
- 3 lbs of mozzarella cheese, shredded**
- 1 C grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- In a large sauce pot to dutch oven, sauté the onions, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes in 2 tbsp of olive oil for 3- 4 minutes; till fragrant.
- On medium low heat, pour in the marinara sauce and dried seasonings (basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage). Let simmer for at least 20- 30 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, fresh herbs, and brown sugar (if using) and season with salt + pepper, to taste. Let simmer for an additional 15- 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- PREPARE NOODLES ACCORDING TO PACKAGE INSTRUCTIONS. Make sure to salt you pasta water and don’t overcook the noodles. When done, place on a pan treated with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper.
- PREPARE RICOTTA MIXTURE: Combine ricotta, 2 eggs and dried parsley (or oregano) Stir together with a fork.
- TO LAYER LASAGNA:
- put a little sauce at the bottom of the pan (~ 1/3 c)
- place the noodles in the pan; try not to overlap them.
- spread 1/4 c ricotta mixture on top.
- sprinkle 1/4 c parmesan cheese over the ricotta mixture.
- add 2 c greens.
- cover the greens with the tomato sauce. Don’t skimp on the sauce, it helps cook down the spinach and kale)
- layer mozzarella cheese on top; about 1/2 C
- REPEAT ii. - vii. pressing down each new layer. When you get towards the top, end with a later of noodles, ricotta cheese, parmesan, sauce and mozzarella cheese!
7. Cover the pan with foil; Spray the foil with nonstick spray so the cheese doesn't stick. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
8. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving!
* I used boil noodles because you can slice the pieces to fit the loaf pan. If you are making a half pan or full pan, you may use the no- cook version.
** I prefer to always buy the block of cheese and shred my own; it melts better.
3 loaf pan lasagnas
2 half pan lasagnas
1 full pan lasagna